The Dead Beat Scroll: An August Riordan Mystery

Mark Coggins. Down & Out, $17.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-64396-031-9
Coggins’s uneven seventh August Riordan mystery (after 2015’s No Hard Feelings) travels down familiar hard-boiled paths to a disappointing reveal. When Riordan, an old-school PI uncomfortable with modern technology, learns that Chris Duckworth, his sometime assistant and former best friend, is missing, he flies from his home in Palm Springs, Calif., to San Francisco, where five years earlier a case they worked together destroyed their friendship. Then an old frenemy in the SFPD, Lt. “Smiling Jack” Kittredge, informs Riordan that Duckworth has been found, shot in the back of the head, in a sleazy massage parlor. When Riordan checks out his friend’s most recent clients, he hits a promising lead with the sultry Angelina Evangelista. Angelina retained Duckworth to trace Corinne White, her half-sister, and when Riordan picks up Corinne’s trail, it ends with his discovering her corpse, shot with the same caliber gun that killed Duckworth. Coggins saddles Riordan with an improbable vigilante justice backstory, and his setting is less distinctive than the San Francisco of Marcia Muller’s PI, Sharon McCone. That said, noir fans not looking for novelty should be satisfied. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/28/2019
Release date: 09/16/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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